City Gallery

Past exhibition

Vivian Lynn: Caryatid [Installation Series]

4 July–28 July 1986

Wellington’s Vivian Lynn shows Caryatid (1983)—a floor-to-ceiling column made of hair, with two great eyes constructed out of woven hair. Lynn draws her references from across human history. Caryatids are from ancient Greek architecture—they are pillars sculpted as female figures that bear the weight of the roof. Lynn’s Caryatid, however, looks less classical, more primitivist. She installs it facing and next to the central pillar, which she inscribes with a contrasting, regular triangular grid. Lynn writes, ‘In prehistory, trees were associated with the Goddess religion … The tree, later to become the tree of life, was represented by a column. So in the earliest time the column’s affinity with women and women’s sacred places was established.’ 

Installation Series Twelve New Zealand artists are invited to create installations on the Gallery’s first floor—an awkward, challenging space, dominated by a central pillar. Each show runs for a month, beginning in June 1986 with Jürgen Waibel, ending in July 1987 with Pauline Rhodes. Halfway through, the series’ name is changed from the Installation Series (1986) to Project Series (1987), to accommodate artists wary of the ‘installation’ classification. The works are documented on videos, which include interviews with the artists.